Aim to save Geraldton rubbish from landfill

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Mike Barker said recycled plastic and glass is put in roads everywhere and he just needed Geraldton businesses to make the change.
Camera IconMike Barker said recycled plastic and glass is put in roads everywhere and he just needed Geraldton businesses to make the change. Credit: Tamra Carr The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton recycling boss Mike Barker says he has about a year to find buyers for his ground glass and shredded plastic, or tonnes of processed waste will be dumped at Meru Landfill.

Mr Barker is head of Midwest E-Waste, a facility in Webberton that aims to turn recycling into a profitable venture.

Mr Barker’s volunteer team has bloomed from eight to 22 active people since December and the number of businesses bringing recyclable rubbish to his site has grown from 50 to more than 200.

Mr Barker said community support for his recycling initiative was plentiful, but he needed businesses to change their “entrenched” way of thinking and buy the rubbish.

He said the main market was road and pathway construction.

“We’ve taken our processed glass to local bitumen contractors who have taken samples for testing,” Mr Barker said.

“The shredded plastic can also be used as concrete aggregate.

“Currently they use blue metal, which is a rock they have to drag from the ground and smash up.

“Plastic is lighter, kinder on their machinery and easier to transport.

“The problem is Geraldton people are entrenched in what they always have done, and think ‘why change something that works?’ ”

Mr Barker plans to charge the same rate for his processed plastic and glass as blue metal suppliers charge, hoping the environmental benefits of his product will help sway businesses in his direction.

So far, support has included a donation from Nagle Catholic College, volunteers from Geraldton’s disability services sector and the local Men’s Shed offering to pay the lease on a plastic shredder.

Mr Barker said he just needed that first leap from a Geraldton business. “It would be a real disappointment if all the rubbish ended up where it was destined to go in the first place, landfill,” Mr Barker said.

“So talk to your local members about supporting the cause and if you see Shane (Mayor Van Styn) in the street, say ‘hey, there’s a local mob out here, why are we not supporting them?’ ”

To volunteer, or to donate, contact Geraldton and Midwest E-Waste on 0408 967 112 or visit its site at 12 Stow Street, Webberton.

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